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J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax 2013: For Preparing Your 2012 Tax Return by J.K. Lasser Institute

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33.15 Work-Related Tests for Education Costs

Educational costs are not deductible on Schedule C (self-employed) or Schedule A (employee) if you are unemployed or inactive in a business or profession. The cost of “brush-up” courses taken in anticipation of resuming work is also not deductible.

You are not considered unemployed when you take courses during a temporary leave of absence lasting one year or less.

Course must not meet minimum standards.

You may not deduct the cost of courses taken to meet the minimum requirements of your job. The minimum requirements of a position are based on a review of your employer’s standards, the laws and regulations of the state you live in, and the standards of your profession or business. That you are presently employed does not in itself prove that you have met the minimum standards for your job.

If minimum standards change after you enter a job or profession, courses you take to meet the new standards are deductible.

Teachers.

The minimum educational requirements are those that existed when you were hired. If your employer set no tests fixing a minimum educational level, you meet the minimum requirements when you become a member of the faculty. Whether you are a faculty member depends on the custom of your employer. You are ordinarily considered a faculty member if: (1) you have tenure, or your service is counted toward tenure; (2) the institution is contributing toward a retirement plan based on your employment (other than Social Security ...

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